The Bobby Bowden Dynasty film, which aired on the ACC Network last week, is full of nostalgic reminders of the people and the effort required to be succesful.
One 30-second segment of the film struck me as particularly relevant today for coaches, players and fans alike.
“In a football game, there is going to be adversity,” Bowden said to a 1978 Alumni Kickoff Luncheon. “You’re gonna get knocked down. You’re gonna get ripped apart. The other team is gonna move the ball on you. But you can’t quit! You can’t let up! You must back off and regroup and come back.”
Then focusing his words on the alumni, Bowden said: “But you fans have got to do the same thing if we happen to go through some adversity. Until we get these kids educated like we want ‘em, you have got to regroup. You can’t hang your head. You can’t quit. We can’t do this unless we’re all together.”
His last sentence gives fans ownership for success.
Florida State has played three games in which they have faced adversity. Where they have been knocked down, ripped apart. The other team has moved the ball on them. In each game the outcome has been decided on the final series, the final play. The Seminoles could be 0-3 as surely as they could be 3-0.
The Seminoles led in all three games, by as much as 21 points, but ran out of gas in the second half and let up.
For weeks we’ve been looking for answers. Here’s another one: Would the team have let up if the half-full stadium had been packed and in encouraging voice?
Do fans play a role, as Bowden said?
With two losses, Seminole fans and students are naturally feeling the adversity too. Many have given up season tickets, chosen not to come to games, or as Bowden puts it: “hanging their head.”
These are tough times but an opportune one for coaches, players and fans to re-group. The Seminoles come back to Doak Campbell Stadium with a two-game home stand against Louisville and North Carolina State.
A pair of wins against these respectable but beatable programs would elevate FSU to 3-2 and bring team goals back into focus. If the script of this season plays out, these games will come down to a single series of plays once again.
The team has shown signs of improvement on offense and special teams in all three games this year and the defense played better for three quarters against Virginia. Could a rambunctious crowd, hellbent on creating a homefield advantage like that in Charlottesville, carry FSU to the finish? Could Doak give the Seminoles the resolve not to let up? Could the incessant sound of the Warchant make it difficult on opponents to execute under pressure?
Most of FSU’s former players will tell you a loud and passionate crowd inspires the home team, intimidates the opposing team, and does affect the outcome of games, especially those decided in the final moments.
“We can’t do this unless we’re all together,” Bowden said 41 years ago.
If you are a Seminole fan, you want to say, “Hell to the yeah!”
You wake up Sunday morning after a hard-fought win, nursing a sore throat, and absolutely certain you made a difference. And according to Bobby you did.
I know Bobby Bowden believed what he said in 1978 — giving ownership for success to the fans — because he repeated the statement in 2016 while addressing a crowd of 1500 at the premier of the Bobby Bowden Dynasty Film in St. Petersburg.
After the film played, Bowden and a reporter took the stage to answer questions. The reporter asked Bowden about “his” success and what Bowden did next reinforced what he said in 1978.
As he spoke, he made eye contact with every every section of that theater, and said something to the effect of: “We couldn’t have done any of it without every on of you. It was your team. It wasn’t my team, or my success, it was your team and your success.”
Former outside linebacker coach Jim Gladden was there and collaborated what Bowden said.
“When he talked to the community he was quick to deflect success and turn it around as a complement to the fan base, to the community,” Gladden remembers. “He would always say, ‘It is not Florida State’s team, it is your team.”
Enjoy the clip. #BowdenDynasty #TheOsceola
Notes: There are numerous hotel rooms available for this weekend’s Louisville game for under $199 per night with a one-night minimum. Go to visittallahassee.bookdirect.net/
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